How Much Does It Cost To Convert A Crawl Space To A Basement (& Is It Worth It)?

Having a little extra space in your home never hurts, and a basement is a great place to find that extra square footage. However, not all homes start with a basement. Some have crawl spaces, which begs the question of whether you should convert a crawl space to a basement. The first factor many homeowners will consider is how much it costs to convert a crawl space into a basement. On average, this project can range from $60,000 to $150,000, with factors like the square footage of the space playing a role. Of course, with a renovation of that expense, many want to know if it's even worth it to complete. In most cases, it's absolutely worth it to have a basement instead of a crawl space.

Both basements and crawl spaces can be unfinished, but the difference typically lies in their uses. Most crawl spaces are 1 to 3 feet tall, which doesn't allow the option for extra living space or multiuse spaces with workbenches and exercise equipment. Crawl spaces also often experience moisture and pest problems, which can affect the interior's humidity and can make them difficult, though not impossible, to use for storage. You should be aware of the kind of items you store in them; things like paper documents, photos, and fabrics like clothes can be easily damaged by moisture or pests and need to be stored in sealed containers. Crawl spaces are used for utility purposes, allowing you access plumbing, heating, and electrical systems. A basement can house these systems, plus add living space.

Cost to convert a crawl space

Changing a crawl space into a basement can be quite an expensive undertaking. Turning an unfinished crawl space into a finished basement can range between $30 and $75 per square foot, with the average basement being between 500 to 1,500 square feet. Of course, this is just the average price range, and the actual cost depends on what needs to be done to convert the crawl space into a basement. Plus, if you want to finish the basement to make it a living space, that will jack up your costs as well.

The process of converting a crawl space into a basement involves raising the home to create access underneath it while work is occurring or bracing the home's foundational footings, which can cost anywhere from $3,100 to $9,400 for raising the home or up to $20,000 for the bracing because specialized professionals are needed to do the job. Then, excavation takes place, where professionals will remove dirt and rocks to create the space for the basement. Once the ground is excavated, a new foundation is created, walls are built, and the home is lowered.

To turn it into a finished living space, you'll have to add plumbing, electrical, heating, and cooling. Walls need to be framed, dry-walled, and painted, plus flooring. Adding a bathroom can be between $5,000 to $15,000 for a half-bathroom or over $40,000 for a full bathroom. Getting the best use of a finished basement with a bar, movie theater, or gym would be another extra cost.

Why converting to a basement is worth it

Converting a crawl space is a pretty big project. So why exactly is it worth it to turn a crawl space into a basement? The biggest reason, on top of an additional living space, is the added value. Having a finished basement, or even an unfinished basement that could be finished, will add more value to your home. While you may not recoup all of your costs if or when you decide to sell your home, homeowners can expect to see a 70% to 75% return on investment by finishing a basement. Finishing a basement before selling might be a good idea to make your home more attractive to potential buyers and increase the asking price.

If you're planning on staying in your home for a while, evaluate whether you need the extra square footage. Another level of living space allows you to spread out more comfortably and customize the space exactly how you want. It can become a casual second hang-out area for the entire family or a dedicated playroom for kids. You can host guests by adding a bathroom and bedroom or turn it into an office or workspace for crafts, hobbies, or a side business. Of course, it can also be a storage space too. You can even add a kitchen and a separate entrance to turn it into a rental apartment for passive income or to supplement your mortgage payment. If you're just after extra space and have the room for it, building an addition is likely a cheaper option than constructing a basement, but if you can only build down, have the money to spend, and want that extra storage space, the conversion is worth considering.